Although former Alabama star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is the second best WR on many boards, he has the talent worthy of the Bengals' 5th overall pick.
The Bengals need to add more speed to their receiver room. Waddle would be a perfect fit alongside Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Auden Tate.
On the field, he’s a burner and could play the Z receiver position with Higgins at the X and Boyd in the slot. Although he’d be playing mostly on the outside in the Z spot, he’s versatile enough to move into the slot and even in the backfield on occasion.
Waddle isn't expected to run the 40-yard dash is pre-draft workouts due to an ankle injury that kept him from preparing for it. He's told people he'd expected to run in the high 4.2s or low 4.3s.
In his sophomore season, Waddle had to compete for receptions with players like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith. Although he didn’t receive many targets, he showed promise. In his last season at Alabama Waddle caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns before he missed the rest of the regular season with a broken ankle. Even with a bad injury, he was able to return for the National Championship and catch three passes for 34 yards.
Measurables: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
Strengths: Waddle is a dynamic playmaker. Although he was held back because of injury, he showed how electric and game-changing he can be. His speed is dangerous. He’s a burner at all levels and is lethal with the ball in his hands. He uses his speed to get plenty of separation before and after the catch. Waddle gets open vertically and tracks the ball well. He’s also very effective getting off the line of scrimmage. Another nice plus is his ability to return kicks and punts on special teams.
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Weaknesses: At 22-years-old, his breakout age isn’t ideal. He’s older than what a team would hope for. He’s also a bit undersized and struggles to compete for 50/50 balls at times. His recent ankle injury could be a red flag as well, even though it seems he has been recovering on schedule and he doesn't have a history of injury issues.
While he’s not the top skill position prospect, he’s one of the best fits for the Bengals in the first round. Depending who is still on the board at 5, Cincinnati should absolutely consider the star wide receiver.
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